Measuring The Potentials of the Gaming Industry in Nigeria

Gaming Industry in Nigeria

Nigeria’s gaming industry is on the rise. Key factors driving this growth include significant advancements in internet access and the widespread availability of affordable smartphones.

With it, the niche within gaming that is iGaming or online gambling is also gaining popularity. A recent report by PWC revealed that the rise in Nigeria’s gaming industry is also driven by the growing young middle-class demographic, challenging the stereotype of it being limited to lower-income earners.

The economic recession has also boosted gaming as unemployed youth seek additional income. Sports betting is the most popular but slot games are also increasingly common as many play Lucky Blue or other titles on trusted online casinos.

Improved mobile penetration, increasing from 36% to ~50% in three years, and enhanced payment platforms have broadened the customer base.  Business Monitor International predicts mobile subscribers will rise from 153 million to 182 million by 2021, further expanding the gaming user base. A similar thing can be said about the user base of internet service providers.

As of Q3 2023, Spectranet led the ISP market with 113,869 active customers, followed by FiberOne with 27,000. During the same quarter, new contender Starlink had 11,207 customers and its Q4 showed a 113% increase.

Popular Gaming Trends

Mobile gaming is at the heart of almost every Nigeria’s gaming community. Popular titles such as Garena Free Fire and Call of Duty Mobile have become household names. These games are not only popular for their entertainment value but also for the competitive platforms they offer.

Garena Free Fire has garnered a massive following in Nigeria thanks to its regular in-game events and accessibility. This battle royale game’s low system requirements make it accessible even on less powerful devices

Meanwhile, Call of Duty Mobile is known for its high-quality graphics and immersive experience. Its video game predecessor has attracted a significant global player base so it is a given that its mobile version is taking off well. Its various game modes offer something for every type of gamer, including the popular battle royale mode. The game’s success has also spurred local tournaments that add to the growth of the esports scene.

Although well-known studios remain the apex predators, indie game development is also on the rise. Local developers are increasingly gaining recognition for their innovative approaches and unique content. Many Nigerian developers produce games with studios like Maliyo Games launching 40 titles so far.

There is also a growing trend towards integrating local content and themes into games. This not only makes the games more relatable to Nigerian players but also introduces global audiences to Nigerian culture. Developers are exploring traditional folklore, historical events, and contemporary issues unique to Nigeria that set Nigerian games apart.

Nigeria’s burgeoning gaming market has also attracted collaborations with major brands. For instance, leading Nigerian game developer Maliyo Games became the first African developer to collaborate with Disney.

The Lagos-based studio has partnered with Disney to launch “Iwájú: Rising Chef” on Disney+. The game celebrates Nigeria’s culinary delights like Jollof Rice as players run a fun and frenzy restaurant in Lagos as a new chef.

“Through this collaboration with Disney and Kugali, Maliyo Games has captured the essence of Iwájú by bringing their own vision, talent and expertise to a unique game inspired by vibrant Nigerian culture and cuisine,” praised Disney Games’ executive director, Sonoko Ishioka.

Maliyo Games’ founder, Hugo Obi, highlighted the collaboration’s alignment with their mission to showcase African talent globally.  It also marks a significant milestone for the Nigerian gaming industry. This partnership underscores the global recognition of Nigeria’s potential in the gaming sector and is expected to inspire more local developers.

Growing communities

Nigeria’s gaming market is valued at $2.14 billion and growing at 11.62% annually. The sector is poised to outpace traditional entertainment industries like movies and music as a significant economic driver.

Communities on social media and gaming forums have created spaces for gamers. The development of gaming cafes and esports arenas is enhancing the infrastructure needed for competitive gaming.

The esports scene in Nigeria is rapidly evolving and is increasing participation and viewership. Esports organizations and tournaments are gaining traction. The recent partnership between Nigeria’s Esports Federation and Moonton Games is expected to further fuel the competitive gaming landscape in Nigeria. The collaboration will pave the way for major esports tournaments in the country.

With continued support and investment, Nigeria could very well become Africa’s premier gaming hub. The potential is immense as Lagos positions itself as a central player. Governor Sanwo-Olu revealed his plans to capture 30% of Africa’s gaming market, projected to reach $4.28 billion by 2024, at the Africa Gaming Expo 2024.

This will require overcoming infrastructure and economic challenges with sustained government and private sector support. Nigeria’s average internet speeds lag behind global averages and the country’s economy’s instability could deter investors.

Yet, Nollywood’s synergy with gaming remains promising. Recent examples like the “Aki and PawPaw” game and the collaboration of Maliyo Games and Disney highlight Nigerian potential to be the frontrunner in this sector in Africa.

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